The “Talking” Statues of Rome – Part #1

July 17, 2008 / Art & Archaeology
OK, so statues don’t talk . . . but in Rome, some of them do. Let me explain.

Centuries ago, when the Romans had little say against the people who ran their daily lives, they came up with an ingenious way to express their dissatisfaction. Since speaking out verbally brought severe reprisals, in the middle of the night they began to leave written messages on some of the city’s more popular statues.

These messages ranged from taxation to free speech, from religious persecution to personal liberties, or even against their friends. Whatever their problems, they left these “talking” messages even despite laws that were passed prohibiting this practice . . . and sometimes they were even listened to!!!

There are six of these “talking” statues but the most popular is a 3rd century male torso called Pasquino, located in the Piazza di Pasquino just behind Piazza Navona. Even today, Pasquino will be covered with “messages” criticizing current events, such as the one pictured here against “Silvio”.

Stay tuned next week for Part #2 of “The Talking Statues of Rome”.

Normanno Ross

by Normanno Ross

TV Producer, Special Events Organiser, and avowed Romaphile.

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